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HSA Says Sale of Condoms At Freshman Union Is Legal


Harvard Student Agencies moved one step closer yesterday to selling condoms and vaginal foams at its concession stand in the Freshman Union.

Harold Rosenwald '27, HSA's attorney, stated Tuesday in a letter sent to Andrew W. Nelson, general manager of HSA, that HSA could lawfully sell condoms and vaginal foams.

Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, will now decide whether Rosenwald's opinion is legally sound. Steiner received a copy of Rosenwald's Steiner received a copy of Rosenwald's letter yesterday afternoon, but said. "I'd like to take a couple of days" to decide.

Legality Questions

Steiner asked HSA in October for its lawyer's opinion on the legality of selling contraceptives when HSA began to reconsider selling condoms and vaginal sprays.

HSA sold condoms for several weeks last February, until it learned that they might be breaking a Massachusetts law prohibiting the exhibition or selling of contraceptives. The state statute was later found unconstitutional for violating the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Arthur I. Segel '73, president of HSA, said yesterday, "We'll order the stuff as soon as Steiner gives the go-ahead." He added that Dr. Warren E. C. Wacker, director of the University Health Services, had already given his tacit approval to the plan.

Wacker was unavailable to confirm this last night.

Skiddy von Stade, Jr. '36, dean of Freshmen, said yesterday that selling contraceptives in the Union "seems to condone human relations which I've always thought of as a one-to-one thing." He added, "It might reinforce the idea that isn't a bad thing."

Attorney Rosenwald warned HAS not to advertise that it is selling contraceptives. In his letter he said, "Since the sale of contraceptives is lawful, it may be argued that advertisement of such sale would be lawful. However, this issue has not yet been resolved and there is a certain degree of risk in advertising these products."

Under the Counter

Nelson said yesterday that the contraceptives would probably be kept under the counter and no signs would be posted.

The HSA contraceptives will be sold much cheaper than in local pharmacies, Segel said. "We're not making money off it, not a cent," he said. "We're just trying to improve our general standing with students."

Rosenwald warned in his report. "There is the theoretical problem of product liability if HSA sells defective condoms." He advised that HSA get product liability insurance.

Segel said that John Gordon '73, director of the Union stand, has already picked a distributor and will order the contraceptives as soon as Steiner gives his approval.

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